"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Illuminated Initials

My Grade 6 students are in the middle of a Medieval Art unit. They recently finished up their illuminated initials. I started off by showing a slideshow on illuminated manuscripts, gave some brief history, etc. We watched a great video on how illuminated manuscripts were made from the Getty Museum. 

Students started of by drawing a border using a ruler. Then they chose whichever letter they liked; I asked them to choose a letter representing someone special to them. Then they 'illuminated' the letter. They could choose to go the traditional route or create more contemporary designs.

This book from Dover publications came in handy to help inspire students who needed extra visuals.

Once the drawing was complete, they outlined everything using an ultra fine Sharpie. Then they used small brushes and watercolours to paint their illuminations. Once dry, they used some gold markers to add some metallic accents (to mimic traditional gold leaf).

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Picasso "Blue Period" Sad Portraits

My Grade 2 students recently studied portraiture. In addition to face symmetry and proportion, we've been looking at how colour can affect a mood of a painting.
I fist had students practice drawing a face in correct proportion. One of my main goals was to have all students try to include all the small details that younger artists tend to forget: upper eyelid, eyebrows, ears in the correct position and most importantly, eyes in the correct position. I showed them on the whiteboard, what I call "forehead eyes"- whereby beginning artists tend to put their eyes waaay to high up on the face- in the forehead region.

The next class, we had a look at the some works from Pablo Picasso's "Blue Period". These were works done by Picasso between 1901 and 1904 where he painted in essentially monochromatic tones of blues. He was going through difficult times in his personal life and his art became an outlet for his emotional state at the time. 
So we discussed how colour affects the mood (blue is a cool colour) and how Picasso expressed sadness on his portrait's faces (neutral expression, sad eyebrows, body language). We discussed some times in our lives when we might be sad (death of a pet, etc). I really tried to exphasize that all art doesn't need to be happy, pretty pictures of landscapes or flowers or whatever- that it can express a full range of emotions and that all our emotions are important and valid.

Femme aux Bras Croisés (Woman with Folded Arms), 1902

So for our good copy, students drew a sad looking face on 12 x 18" heavy white paper. 
They only needed to include from the shoulders up.

Then we painted them using watercolours. I demonstrated how to mix blue with black to get more sombre tones. Students were encouraged to stick with only shades of blues, greys and blacks plus a bit of purple if they wanted. 

The next class, once the painting was dry, students went over all their pencil lines with a charcoal pencil and smudged the line to add a soft textural effect.

Overall I was quite happy with how these turned out. I had to remind a few students to include eyebrows, etc, but overall most included all the features. I'd also say most of these appear sad or worried, though a couple crossed the line into anger!! lol

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Clown Portraits

My Grade 2 students recently finished their clown portraits which is part of their Portraiture unit. We've been creating portraits in different medium, using colour to express different moods. 
In this one, obviously we're trying to create happy moods using bright colours. However, if you're like me and find clowns incredibly creepy, then these are not happy! lol

I found the original lesson HERE on the fantastic Kids Artist blog. 

Students first chose a coloured piece of 9x12" construction paper. Then, they drew and cut an oval or a circle onto plain white paper. (This is when you hear all the students say "An oval is soooo haaaard to draw!!") hahaha!
 They cut this out, glued it onto their construction paper, and, using a black marker, 
drew the face and all the details.
They coloured in the clown using either oil pastels or construction paper crayons. 

(NOTE: I keep my oil pastels and chalk pastels in THESE amazing bowls from the children's section at IKEA. They're the perfect size (wide and low and non-tippy). 
Two students share a bowl. They're only $2 for 6 bowls!!

Some students cut out a big red nose from paper. 
On a separate sheet of 12x18" construction paper, students learned about mono-printing. They used a toilet paper tube and dipped it into tempera paint, and stamped it around the border.

Once the borders are dry, glue the finished clown portraits onto it using white glue. 

This clown below is all kinds of amazing!!!!!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Giraffe's CAN Dance!

Giraffe's Can't Dance has to be one of the most popular art lessons out there for Art teachers. And for good reason- the project teaches so many skills and they always come out so fun and whimsical!

I started by reading the book, "Giraffes Can't Dance" (by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees) to my class. It's a charming story about how being different is okay and how you can still be good at something even though you have to go about it a little "differently." 

The project is done in two parts: the painted background: exploring value changes/gradations, tints, and landscape techniques. Then the giraffe part, which is drawn on a separate sheet of paper and cut out.

So I demonstrated how to create a value change in the moonlit sky- this was fairly tricky for some kids but after some practice they got the hang of it. We used tempera paint.Towards the bottom of the page they added some distant hills (blue + white = tint)  and then the grass. For the grass, the students mixed their own shade of green using the blue and yellow and white. 
You can use this lesson to reinforce or teach background, middle ground and foreground.

On regular white paper, students drew their dancing giraffe. I gave them a handout with giraffe pictures so they could have something to reference from. We discussed how to get a sense of movement in the pose. The coloured these using coloured pencils, then outlined in thin black marker. Finally, they were cut out (I had to cut out some of the inside cuts with an x-acto knife) and glued onto the background paper. Students then chose to add movement marks, some added white stars, and some wanted to add some glitter glaze for some extra 'pizazz'. 

This project, by far, garners me the most compliments when I hang these up on the bulletin board. Staff, students and parents all love them! It's a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

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